Legal positivists dominate discussions concerning legitimacy in military operations. From their perspective, the only valid form of legitimacy is an expression of will from sovereign rulers through international organizations. Thus, resolutions from the United Nations and regional organizations are important prerequisites for military operations. Unfortunately, such a strict focus on procedural expressions of sovereign will leads to irreconcilable paradoxes such as the procedural norms of sovereignty and protection of basic human rights. If states possess a sovereign right of noninterference from external intervention, how does the international community intervene to protect populations from mass atrocities? Many times the contradiction is not adequately addressed and peacekeepers are deployed to figure it out as they conduct operations. The result is confused operational approaches that lead to decreased efficacy in responsibility to protect (R2P) operations. One possible solution to the paradoxes associated with legal positivism is a renewed commitment to the theory of natural law. According to this theory, procedural expressions of sovereign will are absolutely critical to legitimacy, but these expressions must be linked to the antecedent principles of natural law. First principles may serve as a paradox mediator for military decisionmakers as they navigate the complex operating environments associated with humanitarian interventions. In understanding first principles, one must first come to terms with Aristotle's conception of telos, which is the Greek word for ends. The ultimate telos for international society is to increase the common good. Elections, democracy, sovereignty, and other legal norms are only a means to achieve this good. When they become ends unto themselves, the result is often confusion and a decline in operational efficacy; therefore, planners should constantly refer to teleological first principles when discerning right action in operations.